I'm wondering how to go about evaluating the long term effects of a biological intervention, like a new therapeutic. There is emergent evidence that common medications like NSAIDs or anticholinergics significantly increase the risk of heart disease and dementia respectively. It seems to me that many therapeutics could have similarly devastating long-term effects, and we've found the side effects in NSAIDs and anticholinergics because they're some of the most commonly consumed medicines.
Thus, I want to know how to think about long-term effects, and if any frameworks are in use today to consider potential long-term effects.
There are a couple derivative questions I sought to answer:
- To what degree are long term side effects preceded by detectable short term side effects?
- Are there common systems in which damage accumulates over the long term, reaching a threshold that causes catastrophic damage?